‘This beats a ventilator any day’: Southside, Roanoke hold COVID-19 vaccine event for Phase 1b

The clinics will host again in three weeks for the second dose of the vaccine

ROANOKE, Va. – The race to vaccinate Virginians against coronavirus takes a big step forward as thousands of eligible people in our area got their vaccines Saturday.

“Hopefully we can all get this vaccine and get this virus behind us,” said one senior vaccine recipient, Robert Chapman. “It didn’t take a lot of motivation. Just that virus being out there is motivation enough.”

“This beats a ventilator any day,” said June Milam, a senior from Hurt who also received the vaccine.

“We have taught a lot of history. Now we get to go back Monday and tell them we are a part of history,” said Jennifer Watson, a teacher at Tunstall High School in Pittsylvania.

Their demand for the COVID-19 vaccine was large enough to transform both the Berglund Center in Roanoke and Averett University in Danville into pop-up clinics this weekend.

Carilion Clinic administered 2,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in Roanoke, while Sovah Health prepared Moderna shots in Southside.

“We pulled this event together based on a commitment that was made on Monday. We’re here on Saturday vaccinating a thousand plus citizens,” said CEO of Sovah Health Danville John Kent.

Both clinics quickly filled up, and most people said they enjoyed the experience inside.

“I actually had a former student take me to the table and a former student give me the shot,” said Watson.

Danville’s clinic was the first large-scale vaccination event in the region. Health Director Scott Spillman hopes to have a repeat event as soon as possible but said the amount of people in Phase 1b is about 40 to 50% of the population.

The two clinics will be hosting again in three weeks for people to get their second dose of the vaccine.

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